Sunday 11 December 2016

Boy (7) who hadn’t eaten anything in days tried to sell his teddy bear for food

Published 14/08/2016 | 12:43

Tammy Bethel of Franklin, Ohio, and her husband Michael both face child endangering charges after police said their children were living in squalid conditions
Tammy Bethel of Franklin, Ohio, and her husband Michael both face child endangering charges after police said their children were living in squalid conditions

A young boy who hadn’t eaten anything "in days" was found trying to sell his teddy bear for food, US police said.

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Franklin Ohio police Officer Steve Dunham said he found the boy in front of a shop last week where he was attempting to sell the bear.

A photo by investigators showed the conditions at the family's home.
A photo by investigators showed the conditions at the family's home.

“It broke my heart. He told me that he was trying to sell his stuffed animal to get money for food because he hadn't eaten in several days,” Dunham told local station, WLWT.

The boy’s parents , Tammy and Michael Bethel, face child endangering charges after investigators said they found four older boys at the family home in horrific conditions.

Two other officers called to the family’s house and found rubbish, cat urine and cockroaches were all visible. 

Investigators believe the house showed a “a substantial risk of health and safety by neglecting the cleanliness in the residence, having a large amount of bugs and spoiled food throughout the residence, not having properly prepared and packaged food for the minor children to eat, and allowing a 7-year-old child to wander from the residence without their permission or knowledge, in an attempt to locate food.”

Franklin police Officer Steve Dunham said he found the couple's 7-year-old son trying to sell his teddy bear for food last Sunday. (FOX 8 CLEVELAND)
Franklin police Officer Steve Dunham said he found the couple's 7-year-old son trying to sell his teddy bear for food last Sunday. (FOX 8 CLEVELAND)

The children’s mother, Tammy Bethel, has since attempted to defend herself on Facebook.

Both Tammy and Michael Bethel face five counts of child endangering charges ahead of a court appearance next month.

They pleaded not guilty.

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